A story featured both at Politico and Huffington Post making the case for Barack Obama as a transformative president. The last few months have been an extremely interesting to say the least. Cuba, Iran, marriage equality, healthcare victory in the Supreme Court, and commuting the sentences of non-violent offenders, are just a few of the things I think will be looked fondly upon. I am highly skeptical of his trade deal. I also have always been critical of other aspects of his foreign policy since the beginning, especially what this country has done with drones in recent history. I think he could have done more on Climate Change early on, though I think he has done what is possible this term, especially considering the Congress he is dealing with. However, although I think one can be both pleased with and critical of something at the same time, I think the good outweighs the bad when it is all stacked together at this point, especially considering where we were when we started.
I have mentioned several times that I am reading the book The Brothers, a book about former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his brother Allen Dulles, who headed the CIA. These brothers not only ratcheted up the Cold War, but created problems for America that we are still dealing with. I know I have talked a lot about this book, but it is something every American should read. Foster Dulles helped the military gain power in Pakistan. The following passage, where Foster is interviewed by Walter Lippman, would be comical, if the ending wasn’t so tragic. You cant make this stuff up! Remember this is an interview with a sitting Secretary of State during the Eisenhower Administration:
“Look Walter,” Dulles told him, “I’ve got to get some real fighting men into the south of Asia. The only Asians who can really fight are the Pakistanis. That’s why we need them in the alliance. We could never get along without the Gurkhas.”
“But Foster,” Lippman replied, “the Gurkhas aren’t Pakistanis.”
“Well, they may not be Pakistanis, but they’re Moslems.”
“No, I’m afraid they’re not Moslems, either. They’re Hindus.”
“No matter!” Foster replied, and launched into a half-hour lecture about the dangers of Communism in Asia.
George W. Bush and John Bolten’s spiritual father has been found.
I have read quite a lot of history, but I somehow wasn’t aware that we actually supplied Ho Chi Minh with weapons to fight the Japanese during World War II. It seems like we constantly have a problem with supplying weapons to people that eventually become our enemy. One only as to look at recent examples like Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Ho Chi Minh really represents the double whammy because not only did we initially supply him with weapons, but in fighting him we also did something else which is quite common in our history: Trying to overthrow a popular national leader for reasons that were bogus. We claimed at the time that Ho Chi Minh was a puppet of the Soviet Union, but this was not the case. The more I read about our history the more I realize that we not only have created many of our enemies, but as was the case in Iran in the 50’s, we also have often been on the wrong side of history. We should probably stay out of other countries unless we really are clear eyed about what is going on. If not, it always seems to come back and haunts. I am worried that our current drone policy will create another in a long line of self created problems for this country.